Category Archives: Grayson, GA

GHS Rams: Commitment

So, here’s the thing…

Last week, Grayson High School finalized a very ambitious football schedule and social media blew up!

Amidst plenty of excitement over many of the players fielding offers from some very prestigious schools, there was some underlying concern that the team might be under more stress than anticipated. The questions about how to take on the schedule and find success were enough to garner some very tough stances from coaching, players, families, and the community. The resulting consensus indicated this community never backs down.

Coach Mickey Conn’s biggest fan summed it up very nicely by reminding the community of how long and hard the GHS Ram Football Team has worked their plan. Some of the kids in this class have worked it since they were 2 or 3 “throwing a football” behind the rec league stands. Make no mistake friends, Charlie Conn (Mickey’s dad) is right when he preaches, “Mickey has always been ready for any challenge that football has to offer!”

In case anyone needs a further reminder, the following article written for The Grayson Gazette in its founding year establishes that Coach Mickey Conn has never wavered from his plans or intentions for Grayson High School football.


Beth Volpert Johansen
Freelance Writer

Not Giving up Facebook for Lent…

PopMoe_002My friend, Dick Moe said not to do it that way…

Once, a very long time ago, I met this really cool person. He was referred to as “Pop” Moe to all the cool kids, the athletes in my high school. Funny thing was, he would sit in the stands and cheer the marching band as hard as he cheered for football or basketball or anything else. I was in that marching band.  He just loved all of us “kids”. 

As an adult, I was selling real estate in rural Walton County, Georgia. This fella pulled up to my sales trailer looking for my developer. The man was selling building materials and he looked familiar. His first reaction to seeing a young 20-something woman-girl alone in a sales trailer in the middle of nowhere selling $60,000 homes? Protection, he thought he best drive through the subdivision on a daily basis to make certain the subcontractors held me in the highest esteem. He was “Pop” back in high school and he was “Pop” again when I sold houses in the country.

Then, as luck would have it, he showed up again as I began a lifelong dream of becoming a writer. First, with my own paper, The Grayson Gazette, and again, with The Gwinnett Citizen. I wrote up the lives of many people in about 500 words or less for years. He read each word and made sure I knew I was a treasure to him.

A couple of years ago, I floated the idea of “giving up” Facebook for Lent. His response was immediate. “Please don’t do that,” said Pop (Dick Moe). “I love to have a daily interaction with my community, I love the invasive nature of Facebook-it keeps us connected and that is what our Lord wants for us.” Yes, he said that to me.

PopMoe_001So, in honor of Dick “Pop” Moe, a man who has influenced my life since I was “a kid”. I will not “give up” Facebook during Lent. I promise to redouble my efforts to connect with my neighbors, my friends, my loved ones.


And Pop, you keep changing that sign in front of Faith Community in Grayson, GA. It is the best community message we have out there-don’t give it up!


Strawberry Memorial Day

Grandpa Earl Volpert, Sr. WW II

Grandpa Earl Volpert, Sr. WW II

Memorial Day is a special day to be reserved for those service men who did not return home.

Butch’s dad, Earl Volpert Sr., did come home after serving as a medic in Italy in WWII.  Earl Jr. (Butch or Dado as he is better known) was two before his father held him.  He spent many years coaching the boys of St. Patrick’s Elementary the art of playing basketball.    He worked his way up through the ranks of the Terre Haute Fire Department.  After retirement from the THFD, he was the Asst. Director of Civil Defense in Terre Haute.  The Cuban Missile Crisis was ever bit as scary as the unrests of today

His joy was a premie named Beth.  When she got old enough to enjoy real food her favorite was strawberries.  We made the trip from northern Indiana to Terre Haute about every three months.  In the worst of Winter somehow he always found fresh strawberries for her arrival. This was the early ‘60’s, a far different grocery shopping world than today.  His house was full of several generations and not a lot of dollars. It is the memories that count in families.

In my multigenerational garden in Grayson, GA the strawberry plants have not produced well.  This Spring we took Jackson, Steve and Kim’s 4 yr. old, to the strawberry fields in Loganville to pick his own gallon.  Like his Auntie “B” they are his favorite food. However, yesterday I noticed that Jackson’s strawberry plant on his back deck has sprouted new tendrils and flowers.  My circuitous thinking says to me that on this Memorial Day it is Grandpa Volpert Sr.’s way of saying hello to a little strawberry loving fellow with the last name of Volpert.  Sr. died years before there was a Jackson, but it is the memories that count in families.

Marianne “Ditdo” Lough Volpert writes along with her daughter, Beth in the Multigenerational Garden. They live in Grayson, GA.


Multigenerational Garden…Mother’s Day Musings

Ditdo is modeling her Easter bonnet complete with garden customization.

Ditdo in her garden.

From Ditdo…aka grandma/Marianne Volpert who is a regular contributor to this blog dubbed Multigenerational Garden…

Out my kitchen window the generations move on.  The lilac named Miss Kim, Beth gave to me is about done, but I see the first bud on Sharon’s peony and the iris that came from Grandma Catherine Volpert’s garden when she moved from Terre Haute to Grayson are in full bloom.

Plants and flowers represent so many special people.

Plants and flowers represent so many special people.

Kim is my daughter-in-law’s name. I love her for many reasons.  The most important one is that she has shared her husband and her son’s time so graciously with me. Beth is my daughter and even better, my friend. We share lots, most importantly my two older grandsons. Sharon was my sister-in-law with the emphasis on sister.   She was only 12 when I joined this family and  because neither one of us had sisters we made the relationship become what the best of sisters share. Cancer took her much too early in life.  Catherine was my mother-in-law. It was amazing to watch her become an independent woman. She didn’t attempt emancipation until she was in her ‘60’s but she went gung-ho then including getting a license to drive.  No sixteen year old ever felt the rush of freedom that being behind a car can give more than Catherine.  Alzheimers took that independence but it was a good twenty-plus year ride.

Daughter-in-law, daughter, sister-in-law, mother-in-law all there in the garden for me to see first thing as I am making the morning coffee.

What a lucky Ditdo am I.

Multigenerational Garden musings Dado…

Dado and Rebadog celebrate 2 years since open-heart surgery.

Dado and Rebadog celebrate 2 years since open-heart surgery.

Meet Earl. He has a few monikers, Dado is his favorite, but we also like to call him “Chief Mended-Heart”.  Just over 2 years ago, he had open-heart surgery at Gwinnett Medical Center and he is pictured here in our multigenerational garden with his trusty sidekick, Reba.

On this particular sunny southern day, Dado was preparing the soil for “the great potato experiment.” His middle grandson, Alex, wandered out into the garden and pondered the scene. He asked, “What are you planting?” Dado answered, “Potatoes.” Alex paused and then asked, “Are you planning to make vodka?”

And so it goes in the multigenerational garden.

Multigenerational Garden Musings from Ditdo…

Ditdo is modeling her Easter bonnet complete with garden customization.

Ditdo is modeling her Easter bonnet complete with garden customization.

Our multigenerational garden comes complete with a grandmother uniquely named “Ditdo”. It was a version of “Dado” chosen especially by the eldest grandson, Drew, when he was a mere 10 months or so. But that is another story for another day.

Yesterday, Easter Sunday, Ditdo was very busy slinging hams and taters around, but took a break to watch an extremely competitive corn hole game in the yard. She is seen here in her Easter bonnet completely customized by her friends Natalie and Ann Williams who are the mistresses of the hot glue gun. The decorations are mostly garden-oriented and were inspired by the lovely items that continually spring forth from the gardens surrounding our multigenerational house.

Now that you have had a proper introduction to Ditdo, read below for a bit of a read on how the multigenerational garden sends its tendrils curling into our lives each day…

It occurred to me while pulling out the two frozen tomato plants that were purchased at a store that it was supposed to happen that way. The ones I have replaced them with were surprise Easter gifts from church friends of so very many years and delivered by their adult son and wife who are very special friends to this family. I would guess that we have some delicious tomatoes on their way. -Ditdo

Among the girlfriends…reinventing yourself & happy birthday

Aly and the family in England-Tours by Mom!

Aly and the family in England-Tours by Mom!

So, there are some birthdays of note and it is becoming a habit of mine to kind of highlight the girls when I get the chance. This week, our birthday girls are celebrating a “reinventions” or “incarnations” of themselves. They have in common that their kids are growing a bit older, more independent and mom can step outside the house (and outside of themselves). They have  found great new ventures, each very different, but both well-suited.

First up is a longtime friend (anything prior to 1980 qualifies as “longtime”). Aly has been everything from parrot farmer to travel agent and everything in between. All of her experiences have allowed her to move from caterpillar, to chrysalis and finally a lovely purple butterfly-unique unto her own. Today, she has embarked upon a new direction surrounded by beloved books…school-librarian-in-training…I truly have not found her to be any happier than she is today(ok, maybe when her boys were born or her soccer team made the championships). But, babies trump all. It is her birthday and I wish her quite well! Reinvention is a great gift to give yourself.

Raggedy Ann's at Ally's Attic.

Raggedy Ann’s at Ally’s Attic.

Second, but not least (is that right?)…is Raggedy Ann… Ann Geeslin also celebrates her birthday this week. Why Raggedy Ann? It is the name of her newest “incarnation” – a fabulous booth at Ally’s Attic  in Lawrenceville. Pretty items rotate in and out, all with Ann’s special touch. You never know if you will find a “frilly” or a “macabre” tucked here and there. Her personality is playful and it shows in her choices as a collector and as a dealer. Always fun!

She can also draw, paint and craft with just a touch of whimsy that makes the ordinary quite extraordinary. Plus, she is also a great mom to an amazing kid! And her husband…not just along for the ride-they kinda like each other…really like each other, and it shows.

Ann, Kevin and Jake

Ann, Kevin and Jake

For both these birthday girls, family is the best daily gift. They live and love with family first. happyHappyHAPPYDay to Ann and Aly!

Pile on Coach Aly!

Pile on Coach Aly!


Christmas cards make year-round memories

Gina Gardner BrownSuperMom Gina has a world of great ideas and always seems to take life in stride with a smile. Whether she is running the concession stand at the swim meet, homeschooling her kids or supporting her babes in the mission field, Gina manages to do so with the kind of “Grace” that is befitting a woman of faith.

Now, before you go thinking that she is “one of those” perfect women, she will be the first to admit she isn’t. There are so many behind the scenes moments for a busy mom, that it wouldn’t be fair to comment-besides, we are all trying to look like a swan, while under the water, we are paddling like crazy ducks.

One key to Gina’s year-round “peace” is her Christmas card collection that remains firmly taped up around her kitchen all year long.

“I keep the Christmas cards that I receive hanging in my kitchen until I start getting new ones to replace them,” says Gina.  “That’s right, if you send me a card (especially with a picture) your smiling face is in my kitchen for a year” Her favorite part about that is the new December that brings new cards. “I love it because when I take them down I am more able to reflect on the changes that happen during the past year since the card was originally sent.” She looks forward to catching up on all those changes…one card at a time.

And the blog topic? It  just shows that you never know who is inspired by your Facebook musings on any given day! Thanks Gina for being a good sport!

Swim, Dive…DRUM!

So, when you like to do a bunch of stuff, and you promise to keep your grades up…you get to do a bunch of stuff you like…Such as…

Marching Band Drum Line and soccer and youth group at church and hockey and swim team and well, when those things coincide…You bring your drums to the natatorium and play up the pre-swim meet rally for your team.

Dado’s Ties…they never go out of style

Dado's ties are always in style...

Dado’s ties are always in style…

Today, Dado (my dad and the boys’ grandfather) opened the Belk’s ad to find that some of the ties in the photo were somewhat familiar…

He went to his tie rack (a Barbershop singer never throws anything away that MIGHT be useful in a show) and found that he did, indeed, have similar ties. In fact, they were darned near identical! He did what any socially savvy guy would do-posted it to Facebook.

So, much to my mother’s dismay (that would be the boys’ Ditdo), Dado gets to keep his ties in case he needs to quickly don one for a wedding or the governor’s mansion for dinner…or to the Waffle House with the grandsons.